David Rushton, founder of Utah-based studio Sensory Sweep, is looking at jail time for tax fraud and racketeering as well as US$516,819 in restitution.
Sensory Sweep is best known for DS title Tiger Woods PGS Tour 2005, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting and Justice League Heroes. More recently, the company released Major League Eating and a series of language games, such as My Japanese Coach and My French Coach.
"Failing to pay taxes and filing fake tax returns is not a game," says Attorney General Mark Shurtleff in an official release from the Utah Attorney General. "These crimes have real consequences on our schools and for those who think the law does not apply to them."
Rushton did not pay taxes in 2006 and 2007. He also filed phony W-2 forms in 2008, earning fraudulent returns.
Back in 2009, the US Department of Labor filed an injunction against Sensory Sweep on the grounds that it apparently hadn't paid nearly 200 employees in more than 100 days. More than $2 million was owed — the largest unpaid wages case in Utah's history. At the time, Sensory Sweep vice-president Chris Rushton told Kotaku, "We dispute some of the factual claims listed on-line regarding our business situation. We are working out an agreement with the Department of Labor. Rushton added that the company was "very grateful" to its employees for working so hard during those difficult times.
"The Tax Commission continues to vigorously pursue those employers who steal employees' payroll taxes that must be paid to the State of Utah," says Charlie Roberts, Utah State Tax Commission. "This is a serious crime that has negative impacts on all Utah citizens, particularly our school children."
The studio has since gone out of business, and the wages are still unpaid.
Rushton also has 72 months on probation and is prohibited from handling other people's money. He must perform 200 hours of community service. According to the Utah Attorney General, failure to do so will mean a further 20 years in prison.
My Japanese Coach? This guy should've been working on My Business Coach, My Accountant Coach and My Lawyer Coach.
UTAH VIDEO GAME DEVELOPER SENT TO JAIL FOR TAX FRAUD [Attorney General Thanks, Adam!] [Pic]